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5 Must-Do Fall Home Improvement Projects to Cut Your Heating Bills

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Basement Remodeling, doors, Glass Block, Windows

5 must do fall home improvement projects to save heating costs | Innovate Building Solutions Cleveland and Columbus Ohio

I stepped out of my hotel room in Columbus yesterday with a short-sleeved shirt (I’m still in a summer mind-set). The wind was blowing. It was cold, breezy and 56 degrees. I thought, “Why didn’t I check the weather on my phone this morning? Does the summer have to blow by so fast?” I suppose that was Mother Natures’ way of saying to me, “Hey Dude – you live in Ohio. The one thing constant about the weather here is it’s going to change!”

Unfortunately, the decline in temperatures is also joined at the hip with higher bills from the oh-so-friendly heating company. Before the utility company gets you (and I) with high heating bills, now is the time to do the right home improvement project this Fall before you get a bad news bill delivered into your mailbox this Winter.

If your home is not very energy efficient (OK –if we’re keeping it real you’d say it leaks like a sieve) think through which of the following 5 must-do Fall home improvement projects need to be on your list. If you don’t think about this now, you could get stuck with “Joe’s-Quick-And-Dirty Home Improvement Company” whose been on the Angie’s List – naughty list instead a reputable high-quality replacement window and door contractor to do your job.

4 reasons you shouldn’t listen to your realtor (why a shower is better than a tub – even for resale)

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

4 reasons you shouldn't listen to your realtor. Why a shower is better than a tub even for resale - Innovate Building Solutions

Lynda and Tom – a super nice couple in their 50’s living in the Columbus Ohio burbs (can you say O-H-I-O   – yes I’m a OSU Buckeye fan) – came into my showroom with their floor plan for a bathroom remodeling project. They want to make the bathroom larger and have a double bowl vanity top. They are going to increase the size of the window for improved natural light. They plan to move the tub from one side of the room to another to improve the layout. They came to see us to look at grout free tub wall panel options.

They told me they decided on a bathtub again because (as everyone knows) you have to have at least one tub in the home (all realtors and many family members backed up the need for at least one tub). Given this “commonly held truth” they planned to keep the tub in the newly remodeled 1st floor bathroom.

As a nationwide supplier of shower and tub wall panels (and local Cleveland bathroom remodeler) who has worked with countless tub to shower conversions I can’t even think of one time I’ve worked with someone on changing a shower into a tub. “Why the heck is that?” Why are people overwhelmingly getting rid of bathtubs and dusty useless “soaking tubs” home builders insisted on putting in homes in the late 90’s and early 2000’s? Do you really have to have a tub in a home for resale? Conversely, should you even give a hoot about resale?

In this article, I’m going to do two things. First, I’ll give you 4 good reasons a shower is a better option than a tub. Second, I’ll offer up 7 practical advantages of a shower over a tub. At the end of the article I’d love to hear your arguments and if you think I’m a bit nuts (yes – even my wife, kids and fellow co-workers would say I resemble this remark from time to time!).

3 shower wall panel installation headaches you can eliminate with these 5 little known tricks

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

3 shower wall panel installation headaches you can eliminate with these 5 little know tricks | Innovate Building Solutions

David’s honey-do list has just gotten tougher!

When Susan told you, she was sick and tired of cleaning grout in your master bathroom shower and YOU had to finally do something about it you weren’t exactly jumping for joy. Oh boy – another major remodeling project thrown onto your already too long honey-do list. As she made her remodeling demand known (loud and clear) you couldn’t help thinking you’d much rather be eating honeydew than doing the honey-do list!

You’ve been putting Susan off for years on this shower job. It doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to see your tile shower is a scummy, moldy mess. The shampoo bottles sitting on the floor aren’t exactly the safest thing either.

You resign yourself to the not-so-fun trip to the home center store. Before you go, you know the drill. You take measurements. You make a drawing of your tile shower. You already see problems (that’s a nice way of saying pain in the rear headaches you’ve got to deal with):

  • Headache #1 – The walls are ½” out of square (that’s par for the course for this house).
  • Headache #2 – There is a window smack dab in the middle of the back wall in your first-floor bathroom. You know Susan hates the privacy blinds in the shower.
  • Headache #3 – You’ve got 4 uncommon wall sizes in the shower and there is also no place built into your existing shower to store soap and shampoo.

You’re no rookie making this home center store trek. You’ve done remodeling in the three homes you and Susan have owned over the last 25 years. Now both of your “little girls” are off at college (wow – how time has flown).

You check out the standard fiberglass panels on the shelf and don’t see how any of them will work. Here’s the problems with these home center shower kits:

  • The wall panel sizes are rectangular and consistent in size (that’s what you’d expect from mass produced wall panels – but they won’t solve your out of square problem).
  • You don’t see any trim offered to work around the window. (you also have to figure out the window privacy problem. Susan is tired of the blinds in the shower).
  • All the shower wall panel kits are in standard sizes (60 x 32, 48 x 36, 36 x 36 etc.) which won’t work with your 4-wall custom sized shower.

The young dude in the orange smock you get to “help” you is clueless on how to make their products work with your custom sized shower. Houston – you have a problem!

A shower wall panel installation project can be a headache (especially with custom sized showers) if you don’t have a few “tricks” (AKA – products and installation techniques) up your sleeve. Below we’ll take a quick look at 5 little-known ideas to get rid of your shower wall panel installation headaches and get Susan the shower she wants (and you know she deserves – despite the fact you don’t really want to do it!). At the end of the article let me know if these tricks were helpful to you – and if you have any cool tricks up your sleeves to share as well.

5 mistakes (to avoid like the plague) building a glass block shower wall

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Glass Block

5 glass block shower wall installation mistakes to avoid like the plague | Innovate Building Solutions

Do you get an idea in your head and are determined to do it despite the naysayers all around you? When you came up with the idea for the glass block walk in shower the doubters came out in force. Here’s some of the “input” from the doubters you’re already had to put up with:

  • Why do you even want this shower – didn’t they go out of style?
  • Who are we going to get to install this wall? Finding a mason in our town is like finding a needle in a haystack!
  • A curved glass block shower wall – that’s gotta cost a ton of money. There’s no way we can afford that!
  • I don’t see how we have enough room for a glass block shower in our tiny 5’ x 8’ bathroom.
  • As the Rolling Stones once said Honey, “You can’t always get what you want – but you can get what you need – and in this case, that’s a basic shower we’ll pick up at the big box store.”

Sometimes life should be about getting what you want (not just what you need)– even in a bathroom remodeling project. However, it’s impossible to get ‘er done without the drive to figure out what you need (having a plan) and then locating the right products, systems and installation approach to make it happen.

Since glass block showers are not a “run of the mill” home improvement project (they are a specialty shower wall system) you need to do your homework so you don’t have the “nightmare on Elm Street” remodeling project you wish you never started (if that happens those naysayers will have a field day with you).

If you really want a glass block shower, you’ll need to know how to navigate the landmines which can derail your project. Below I’ll give you the straight-scoop about mistakes (and myths) I’ve seen in my 32 years in the glass block industry (wow – this really makes me sound like an old dude!) with this type of installation. This project is completely do-able – but you don’t want to fall into any of these 5 traps below.

5 cutting-edge ideas to get a cool shower door without draining your wallet

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

5 cutting edge ideas to get a cool shower door without draining your wallet | Innovate Building Solutions

Who has unlimited money to spend on a bathroom remodeling project? If you’re like me you do not resemble this remark. You start doing your Internet research and see on Pinterest, Houzz or Google some cool shower doors, shower bases and shower heads and think, “do I have enough bucks to make this project happen?” Make no bones about it. bath remodeling is usually more expensive than you think. So now you may be asking, “Mike, the good news is…..?”

The good news is you can have smart contemporary, sleek shower door today which is cost effective IF you’re familiar with the right products and systems. You’ll need to plan smarter to get a cool, price-effective shower today (and glass shower door) for you’ll enjoy for many “tomorrows” in your home. Let’s check out 5 cutting-edge ideas to save on one critical shower component –your glass door.

5 Critical Questions to Choose the Right Type of Shower Base

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Uncategorized

5 critical questions to choose the right shower base | Innovate Building Solutions

Isn’t it a pain trying to plow your way through the material choices and products in a bathroom remodeling project? What is the best type of shower base? Should you get a wall mounted vanity or a furniture grade unit which sits on the floor? Should you go with a single or double bowl vanity? The list goes on and on.

When it comes to remodeling a shower, I would argue the single most important decision is the shower base (or shower floor or pan as some call it). Why do I say the base is so critical? Well – the base is the foundation of the shower. Just like your home – if the foundation of your shower cracks or gets moldy “Houston, you have a big problem!”

Failure of your shower floor pan can cause leaking onto the floor below and result in needing to redo your entire shower (the glass enclosure, interior shower wall surround panels and base) and whatever additional repair work is needed in the level below. My Dad used to tell me, “Mike – don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.” Buying the cheapest pan you can find (or hiring somebody who doesn’t know what they are doing install a site built pan for you which fails) can have disastrous results (and be penny-wise and pound-foolish as my Dad used to say).

How do you keep the bathroom remodeling project you’re doing today from being a nightmare home improvement failure of tomorrow? It begins with asking the right questions. In this article, I’m going to give you the 5 critical questions you need to know to choose the right type of shower base. At the end give me your opinion which question you think is most important (and if there are other questions to add to the list).

5 reasons you shouldn’t buy a ramped roll in shower base (2 little-known better alternatives for aging parents)

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

5 reasons you shouldn't buy a ramped roll in shower 2 little known better alternatives | Innovate Building Solutions

The aging problem has hit your Mom and Dad’s doorstep

Mom’s mobility and balance isn’t what it used to be (when she fell last year it created quite a scare for you and your brother Michael). Dad’s knees are so bad from his years of hard work at the plant, going up the stairs to their master bedroom has become a project. You and your brother can see the handwriting on the wall (even if Dad cannot). The family home they raised you both in is becoming a big safety hazard for Mom and Dad. You’re starting to do what all responsible brothers and sisters do today. The “behind-the-scenes” research and family meeting process has begun.

You’re debating if Mom and Dad should move in with you or Michael’s family and modify your home to fit their needs (perhaps giving them your first-floor master bedroom and you move upstairs). You know the bathroom with it’s 5” high tile shower curb is just one of the challenges you’ll have to eliminate IF you can get them to move in with you.

You’re also discussing if Mom and Dad would benefit from a move to an assisted living facility. At a cost $3,500/month you have no idea not only how they’re going to pay for this, but Dad will put up such a major fuss you can’t imagine this happening. Staying in their existing home is an accident waiting to happen. Something has got to give….and soon!

The decision is made for Mom and Dad to move in with you. Let the home modification process begin!

After way too many family meetings Mom and Dad have finally agreed to move in with you, your husband Bill and 2 kids (it’s not exactly how you planned your home living situation would evolve – but family has to come first). You, Bill needed got to do and know your existing bathroom “ain’t gonna cut it!” The custom tile shower with the 5” step over curb to get in is not happening with Mom and Dad’s mobility challenges. You’ve decided a ramped roll in shower is the answer… but is it really the best solution?

A ramped roll in shower has its drawbacks

While it’s not my goal to be the guy who rains on your parade and home modification game-plan, there are 5 negatives of installing a ramped roll in shower (it can be a good option – but it may not be the best option) you should be aware of before buying products for the bathroom remodel. Also, there are 2 little-known alternatives you should consider before making your final choice. Read below so you don’t waste money on the wrong selection for your parent’s current needs and your future needs.

7 Frequently Asked Questions about Solid Surface Bathroom Vanity Countertops

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

7 frequently asked questions about solid surface bathroom vanity countertops | Innovate Building Solutions

If your bathroom vanity top is like most – it can be downright scary. Creams, makeup, hairspray and sticky purple medicines all fighting for space. Your countertop has to take a “lickin’ and keep on tickin’.” Since there are a lot of choices in vanity tops choosing one can be tough. One popular countertop material – whether you need a standard or custom size –  is solid surface. You know when you are remodeling there are often too many choices. Selecting a bath countertop, flooring, shower enclosure or shower fixtures can blow your mind.

In this article, I’m not dumb enough to attempt to try to give input on all the components you may want in your remodel. I will look to give you feedback on one option, which is stone solid surface tops. I’ll dig in to give you concrete answers to your slippery questions about solid surface countertops. At the end of the article if you have more questions shoot them at me (if you have more input for others chime in with what you’ve learned).

5 Little Known Facts about High Gloss Acrylic Wall Panels

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

 

5 little know facts about high gloss acrylic wall panels | Innovate Building Solutions

It’s fun to look at the glass-like appearance of high gloss acrylic wall panels in a shower, kitchen backsplash or feature wall in an office and say, “Wow – that material is cool.” Yes –gloss wall panels are striking in appearance – but just like you and I – there is a lot more to know about them than is evident on the surface. While these panels fly off the shelves in countries like Australia and Japan – they are still new to homeowners and business owners in the United States (and a bit of a mystery).

In this article, I’d like to dig “under the hood” to give you some little-known facts (at least in the United States) about these fun and functional high gloss wall panels. At the end of the article let me know if you have any questions which weren’t covered in these 5 facts.

Why settle for a tiny shower?

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Glass Block

 

Why settle for a tiny shower | Innovate Building Solutions

When you take a shower is it an elbow banging, sardine-stuffed-in-can, clown-jammed-into-a-Volkswagen type of experience? Maybe your shower is “functional,” but it’s not a place you enjoy. Since the bathtub is hardly ever used, showers now rule the bathroom landscape. Day in and day out they are the workhorses of our morning or evening routine. So why settle for a tiny shower which is uncomfortably small, outdated and/or a dark depressing?

This is the question Kerry Danielsen asked about the cramped 48″ x 32″ shower in her West Winsor, New Jersey home. The challenge for Kerry (or for any of us who are adventuresome enough to embark on a bathroom remodeling project) is how can I make my limited square footage work? How can I create a bathroom which is luxurious, comfortable and durable (after all who wants to spend good money remodeling a bathroom only to see it fall apart in a short time)?

Fortunately for Kerry she had a “trick” (‘er, or should I say a friend) up her sleeve to guide her through this process. This friend is also an award-winning architect (now that’s the perfect kind of friend to have during a building project), furniture designer and graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University (that’s also my alma-mater so that can’t make him too bad!). He is Jonathan Nelson.

When I talked to Jonathan and Kerry recently about the project Jonathan joked and said, “Mike – we basically created a shower with a bathroom attached!” The challenge becomes how can you create a spacious, luxurious larger shower in a smaller bathroom while providing enough space for a vanity, and toilet? You don’t want to end up looking like an episode from “Honey, I Shrunk the Rest of our Bathroom just to put in a Larger Shower!”

Let’s go on a journey to see how this bathroom remodeling project evolved from a good plan on a sheet of paper to a space which is not only built to last, but is built to be enjoyed …. each day.

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